Textual practices in the new media digital landscape: messing with digital literacies

  • Lesley Gourlay Institute of Education, UK
  • Mary Hamilton University of Lancaster, UK
  • Mary Rosalind Lea Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK
Keywords: literacies, digital, textual practices, learning landscapes, ethnographic


This paper offers a working conversation between the authors about the uneasy relationship between literacy studies and learning technologies. We come from the field of literacy studies but from contrasting perspectives: from academic literacies and work on literacies and technologies in higher education; from an interest in media theory and the implications of digital mediation for the contemporary university; from everyday literacies in informal settings and a concern for the gaps between policy and practice. We illustrate our perspectives through reference to post-compulsory education, especially higher education, but intend our arguments to be of broader value to all sectors of education and learning. We argue that it is probably inevitable that terms such as literacy/digital/network will be taken up by different arenas of scholarship and practice to mean different things, but what is important is finding spaces to make visible the embedded and implicit understandings, assumptions and ideological positions that are carried by these terms. In the paper, we attempt to lay bare some of the tendencies in the different approaches and argue the case for building on these differences in our work rather than seeing them as paradigm contests. We suggest that it would be more generative to the field to acknowledge the richness and diversity of these different traditions, rather than attempting the impossible task of forcing them into a superficial reconciliation.

Keywords: literacies; digital; textual practices; learning landscapes; ethnographic

(Published: 31 January 2014)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2014, 21: 21438 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21.21438


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Author Biography

Mary Rosalind Lea, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK
Reader in Academic and Digital Literacies
How to Cite
Gourlay, L., Hamilton, M., & Lea, M. R. (2014). Textual practices in the new media digital landscape: messing with digital literacies. Research in Learning Technology, 21. https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21.21438
Original Research Articles